In DIY and Make-Do tutorials

After a rainy start to summer, things are heating up around here. All it takes is a searing hot car seat to remind me to break out the Auto Sunshade I made from my book Sewing Green. It’s made from discarded mylar juice pouches. They are reflective, lightweight, kinda fun to sew, and free! (First photo below by John Gruen.)

I started by collecting empty juice pouches after cub scout events, soccer games, even from a neighbor that saved them for me. (The darn things are non-recyclable, so I do my best not to buy them myself!) Trim the tops, rinse them out, and hoard them until you have about 100.

You’ll sew them end to end into long strips, then into an according type construction. Details are on page 110 of Sewing Green.

The resulting shade folds easily to stash in your car.

Before you get out of your car on a hot summer day, unfold the shade, slide it between the dash and the windshield, then flip the visors down to hold it in place.

The shiny silver mylar will reflect those rays and keep your car dramatically cooler and you’ll rely less heavily on the A/C. Your car’s interior and your posterior will thank you.

If you want to practice sewing juice pouches (or have extras after making the sunshade) try a making a small bag. I made mine by just winging it and used an old jumprope for the handle. I found a tutorial for something similar if you like specifics.

I hope you’ll consider making the sunshade and please let me know if you do, I’d love to see it! I also hope you’ll consider not buying juice in mylar pouches when you could opt for a drink with more environmentally friendly packaging. (How ’bout mixing up a pitcher of lemonade and carrying it in reusable bottles?) I’d rather make existing trash into a useful item than create more trash, wouldn’t you ?

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Showing 28 comments
  • Anonymous

    Your auto sun screen from juice pouches is about the most unique thing I have ever seen! I have been looking for something with this amount of sun reflective capability for a swimming pool cover! We live in the deep south and above ground pool water gets too hot to enjoy! Can you believe no pool supply place makes such a thing? It would take a thousand of these pouches to make a pool cover, but I am tempted! Thanks for sharing!

  • Susan

    Betz-such a great, clever idea. The bag is really cute, too. All you would have to do is go to the school lunchroom for a couple of days to collect enough to make the car shade.

    Have a good week!

  • Claire

    I love, love, love this recycling project!

  • Heather

    Great idea – looks fantastic – it would take me forever to get enough pouches though.

  • A Time for Stitching

    I can’t believe how resourceful some bloggers can be. This is such a clever use of something that is difficult to recycle. I don’t use many of this sort of container (mainly 1 soya milk about once a month) and we do have a recyling resource for them but it’s still a cheap and effective use of something that would otherwise be useless.

  • Tumus

    I had no idea those juice pouches were non-recyclable! How crappy is it that they keep making them :( Glad you’ve found another way to keep them out of the dump at least for a bit longer.

    Now if you can come up with a way to use the mylar to convert sun energy to solar power THEN that would be even more amazing!

  • Morning Glory

    What an amazingly FUN idea! I will have to add that to the list.

  • BJ Lantz

    You’re just too clever!

  • Erika

    I was just telling my husband the other day that I was searching for an idea of how to make a sun screen for my car! I’m so excited that you posted this…off to drink some juice pouches so I can get started!

  • Beansieleigh

    On my blog I’ve mentioned many things I’ve made with juice pouces!!.. Well, actually I crochet around my empty juice and jammer pouches, but this is something I just recently heard about by way of a Pink Saturday participant (the artchics)!! I love the idea of a sun screen for the car!!! I will DEFINITELY be making THIS!! Thanks for sharing this great (and green!) idea!

  • Romero

    Que lindo bolso! creo que lo podre hacer con los empaques de cafe.

  • theknittingcowgirl

    You are so clever Betz!!! I love your ideas!
    Thanx for sharing!

  • mydarlinganodyne

    I just found your blog and am so glad I did. There is such a wealth of ideas here! I can’t wait to go get your book. Thank you for sharing your creative green ideas.

  • beingbeatrice

    Awesome ideas!

  • Whosies

    love the idea. makes me a bit thirsty.

  • Gabriela

    How cool!

    ~ Gabriela ~

  • Carol

    What a great idea! I’ve seen the bags around here quite a bit but the whole sunshad thing is new and inspired! Thanks

  • Ele at abitofpinkheaven

    Cute project! Those little juice bags used to drive me crazy as someone always squeezed the bottom and out the straw would come strawberry juice drink! Love the purse!

  • Lulu

    Love it!!! :) Too bad you can not recycle them where you live… We can here!

  • Jaime Kae

    CapriSun is now partnering with a company that “upcycles” the pouches.



  • Betz White

    Jaime Kae,
    Good point, however, I’m not convinced that is a good thing. I’d prefer that the solution be a more responsible type of packaging in the first place.

  • Amy

    Thanks for this great project. I am buying a box or two of these for the weekend camping trips and hopefully by the end of the summer I will be able to make my own. I had no idea the were not recyclable but what a great way to repurpose them.

  • GloJoeSews

    I love the sunshade. I’ve made some juice pouch crafts, myself. I had my students collect the ones they and their peers used. I’ve made purses, a messenger bag, and pencil cases for each of my students–even a cell phone case. Here’s some examples: http://glojoesews.blogspot.com/2009/04/more-juice-pouch-crafts.html

  • Jo

    Those are both so incredibly cool! I never would have thought of using the pouches for a sun shade but it really makes sense!

    I love the jumprope for handles on the bag too.

  • ink, paper, glitter

    Thanks so much for this!!

    Having 4 kids, it will be great to make the car less hot on those boiling days.

    I’ve been looking at bags made fom pouches/cartons and this is a great bonus.

  • lillian

    Your auto sun screen from juice pouches, awesome very inventive sounds like you have a wonderful imagination as do I…Great Ideal especially great for shielding a child’s car seat or a kids booster seat…keep them coming Thanks

  • Christina

    I am in the process of making one of these right now! I checked the book out out the library and now have added it to my amazon wish list. :D I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  • Blinderen

    Heheh this is great!

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